The late autumn sun shone through dark clouds hanging over Jerusalem. Rain had come to the land of Judah, softening the hard packed dirt. People were out and about, taking care of life’s demands, unaware that the very Author of Life was in their midst. Through the miracles, through the words in the Scrolls, the truth was daily revealed to them, but the unbelief in their hearts kept their eyes from seeing, and their minds from understanding.
They moved now, through the narrow streets of Jerusalem, a human river clogged with striped robes and dirty sandals. Greedy hands ravaged the food and wares of the open markets and shops along the way. Stairs and high walls made it impossible to get anywhere fast.
One man made several attempts to navigate the mass of human bodies and heavily packed animals. Desperate to get through, his progress was once again hindered, this time by a merchant fighting to get a camel under control. The din of the street sounds assaulted his senses on every side, until he felt he would go mad.
“The writings,” he mumbled to himself, “how could the rabbi have known? Unless he really is…” He looked around. His thoughts had become a constant torment, conflicting with the teachings of his elders.
“If I could just read from the Scrolls.” But that was impossible now; he could never return to the Temple. The chief priests had taken him into their confidence earlier, about an event staged to ensnare the rabbi from Galilee. He was to witness the proceedings, but he had arrived too late. A woman taken in the act of adultery walked right past him, unscathed. She should have been stoned, but his peers were nowhere to be found. All he saw was the writing on the ground.
He drew his garments closer to his body, aware he was touching all manner of unclean things, wondering if it even mattered now. Glancing around again, he couldn’t shake the scene from his mind. “What if the rabbi was right about the others? What if he really knew about him?” The young priest shivered in spite of the heat from the crowd, and kept his head down until he reached his room.
Slipping inside, he washed away the defilement, and changed his garments. He refused his meal, choosing to fast. Hiding away, he recited the words of the prophet, Micah. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Over and over he repeated the prophecy, but it gave him no peace. Like one delirious with a fever, he stumbled from his quarters, determined to find the truth. Turning away from the Temple, he made his way to the Mount of Olives, where the rabbi was known to pray. When he found no one around, he sat on a rock and buried his head in his hands.
“HaShem, I have tried to live according to the commandments. I have looked for Messiah to come, as You promised. Who is this man, this Yeshua? He is not from the right place,” he agonized out loud. “It is in the scriptures: it must be Bethlehem, not Galilee. I don’t understand. I have seen the miracles. I was in the synagogue in Nazareth when he read from the prophet Isaiah. I have heard his teachings in the Temple. He speaks as though he wrote the very words himself…”
“Then why do you doubt?” A hand on his shoulder sent a fire racing through his being. He looked up into the eyes of the one who haunted his thoughts. The words he heard, silenced his tongue.
Yeshua’s gaze burned with eternal brightness, and pierced his understanding. He felt himself slip away as though in a dream, where he was shown every prophecy, from the Book of Beginnings, through to the last of the Prophets. One after another, the scriptures flowed from Yahweh’s own hand, confirming Yeshua as His son. The young priest had sought the truth; Messiah had come to him. Broken, he believed.
When he opened his eyes, he was alone and at peace. He knew the writing on the ground was now gone, covered over by the footprints of forgiveness, but what had been revealed to him in the scriptures would remain written across his heart, forever.
This is a fictitious work based on, and taken from, the New King James Version of:
Luke 4:16-30 with Isaiah 61:1,2
HaShem is one of the names of God that Jews are allowed to speak, and literally means, The Name
Yahweh is from YHWH, a Tetragrammaton (four letter word) for God’s name, which means, I am the One that I am. Jews are forbidden to speak this word aloud, out of respect.
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